One Love: Feral Future’s Haematic Demands Listener Attention

Feral Future Haematic

If you have not had a chance to listen to Haematic, the debut full-length album from the Austin-based punk quartet Feral Future, you are missing out on some of the best local punk music to be released this year. In only nine tracks, the band successfully captures the aggression of post-punk while keeping its ideals at the forefront of the album’s message.

Haematic is the second release from Western Medical records, the first being Crooked Bang’s self-titled LP from 2012. The label’s roster is selective, but after a listen through this album, it is easy to see why Feral Future was handpicked. Label owner Mike McCarthy (who also worked with Spoon and Trail of the Dead) also acts as the producer on his records. On Haematic, Mike captures the band’s punk spirit and aggression well. While Feral Future only has three instrumentalists, the tracks on Haematic feature a remarkably huge wall of noisy guitars that soars over the punchy bass and drum parts. Kate Moyer’s leads drop in and out in a fog of feedback while the drums and Steph Moyer’s bass parts anchor the songs’ grooves. Each instrument’s part is distinctive and memorable, but blended well with the natural noise of the guitar amps, giving the listener accurate insight into the band’s live sound. The group quickly moves from one dynamic to the next in complete synchronicity with equal attention and aggression given to the quiet and loud sections. On songs like “Brittle Brutal” and “No Means Nothing,” the band launches back and forth between groovy, down tempo sections and loud and completely in-your-face choruses that demand the listener’s attention. The simple and repetitive nature of the instrumental parts combined with the noisy production is punk at its finest. Sure, you could learn these guitar, bass or drum parts fairly easily on your own, but it would be tough to match the intensity of Feral Future’s performances.

Above the abrasive instrumental tracks are lead singer Arielle “Relle” Sonnenschein’s powerful vocals. Relle flawlessly moves between a deep singing voice and a sharp scream. Her vocals are layered over the crunchy lead riffs and steady bass parts, making for an album that’s equal parts bad ass and catchy. After only a few listens of the album, you can show up to a Feral Future show and feel familiar with the set list. Songs like “Gimme Some” and “XOKO” are almost impossible to sit through without singing (and screaming) along.

Catchiness aside, the lyrics on Haematic, discuss some very serious subjects that set them apart from the many riot grrrl comparisons thrown at them. “Hostile” and “No Means Nothing” for example touch on the subjects of rape, abuse and gender issues. The group avidly supports social and political change through it’s art, especially on issues of equality for the lesbian, gay and transgender communities. In fact, on their Bandcamp the group actually calls itself “queer core.” Physical copies of Haematic are totally worth buying not only for the great songs, but also so you can read the lyrics along with the album and uncover some of the band’s deeper musings.

Hands down, Haematic is one of the best releases to come out of the Austin area in a while. The aggressive production highlights the intensity of the band’s live sound while also showcasing the memorable melodies of the guitar and vocal parts well. Feral Future’s intensity in both the music and lyrics sets them apart from an over-saturated Austin music scene as one the best young punk bands around.

I should also mention the recent of addition of Hunter Ross on drums as well. While he was not on the record, his reinterpretation of Haematic tracks in a live setting is the cherry on top of their live show right now.